The world of mobile gaming has often been criticised for its tendency to create games around monetisation. Despite some of the best new Android games being premium experiencing, mobile devs more often lean towards free-to-play experiences.
In an interview with PocketGamerBiz, Unity CEO John Riccitiello expressed a deep hatred for mobile devs who create premium experiences. However, that may be due to one important factor.
Are premium mobile devs stupid?
In the interview, Riccitiello declared premium mobile devs to be “f**king idiots” for not maxing out monetisation. Riccitiello discussed the pushback from developers and gamers regarding egregious monetisation features in mobile games.
The Unity CEO explained that premium game developers are still very good at their job. However, he believes they’re stupid for not gaining obvious profits from free-to-play payouts.
“Ferrari and some of the other high-end car manufacturers still use clay and carving knives,” Riccitiello, an ex-Electronic Arts executive, said. “It’s a very small portion of the gaming industry that works that way, and some of these people are my favorite people in the world to fight with—they’re the most beautiful and pure, brilliant people. They’re also some of the biggest fucking idiots.”
The CEO explained that great games have commercially flopped on mobile for not being tailor-made to free-to-play users. Instead, they’ve been passion projects that have been sadly left behind. He said:
“I’ve seen great games fail because they tuned their compulsion loop to two minutes when it should have been an hour. Sometimes, you wouldn’t even notice the product difference between a massive success and tremendous fail, but for this tuning and what it does to the attrition rate. There isn’t a developer on the planet that wouldn’t want that knowledge.”
So, why is Unity peddling this?
To be fair, the Unity CEO does have a point. Mobile gaming is extremely lucrative for some projects, like Diablo Immortal, but mobile devs looking to make bank on premium experiences are sadly left behind. Well, unless they’re Minecraft.
However, Unity also has a stake in more mobile games becoming free-to-play. With the game engine creators merging with advertising company Ironsource, they want more Unity games to break up the momentum with ads.
This has already been a profitable part of mobile gaming for Unity for years. Free games made on Unity, many of them, use Unity Game Ads to push adverts to players. Unity takes a cut of the generated income.
Of course, Unity wants more free-to-play games to go ham with monetisation, it’s one of their best moneymakers. Even if it means annoying gamers in the process.